LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jennifer Seibel Newsom, documentary filmmaker and wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, burst through tears from the witness stand Monday when she told the court Harvey Weinstein raped her in a hotel room and spoke about the devastating incident. It’s had an impact on her in the 17 years since.
“He knows this is not normal!” she cried during the Los Angeles trial, recalling her thoughts amid the alleged rape in 2005. “He knows this isn’t consent!”
Then I exclaimed “Oh my God!” As if overcome with memory, she gave herself up to tears. Watch Weinstein from the defense table.
Sibel Newsom said she unexpectedly found herself alone with Weinstein in a suite at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, where she agreed to join him for a meeting. She said she assumed others would be present and talk about her career.
When he came out of the shower in a robe with nothing underneath and began groping her while masturbating, she described her feelings.
“Horror! Horror!” She said. “I’m shivering. I’m like a rock, I’m frozen. This is my worst nightmare. I’m just this inflatable doll!”
She then gave a graphic description of a sexual assault and rape by Weinstein in the suite’s bedroom.
Weinstein’s attorneys, who questioned her only briefly and will continue on Tuesday, said the two had consensual sex and that she was seeking to use the powerful product. to advance her career.
Weinstein is already serving a 23-year prison sentence for rape in New York and has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault in California involving five women.
Siebel Newsom is the fourth woman to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault on the stage in Los Angeles. It was her most dramatic and emotional testimony yet in the three-week trial. She cried the entire two and a half hours on the platform, starting when she was asked to identify the 70-year-old Weinstein for the record.
“He was wearing a blue suit and tie, staring at me,” she said as the tears began to flow.
Now 48, Siebel Newsom described how Weinstein first approached her to introduce himself at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2005. At the time, she was a producer and actress with only a few roles, and he was at the height of his power in Hollywood.
“It felt like the Red Sea parting,” she said, as she watched the others in the room give way to him. “I don’t know if it was out of respect or out of fear.”
But when they had a drink later in the day, she said, he was “charming” and showed “a genuine interest in talking about my work”.
He was in the Los Angeles area a few weeks later, and stopped by her house during a small party to deliver a gift and invite her to a hotel meeting.
She described how nervous she was after being directed to his hotel suite. When Deputy Attorney General Marilyn Martinez asked her why she wasn’t leaving, she said, “Because you don’t say no to Harvey Weinstein.”
“It can make or break your career,” she said.
Afterward, she said she felt “very ashamed”.
“I was so abused and I don’t know how it happened,” she said, crying. “I didn’t see the clues and didn’t know how to escape.”
Siebel Newsom is known as Jane Doe #4 on trialAnd, like others who have accused Weinstein of rape or sexual assault, her name is not spoken in court. But both the prosecution and the defense identified her as the governor’s wife during the trial, and Sibel Newsom’s attorney confirmed to The Associated Press and other news outlets that she is Jane Doe #4.
The AP does not usually mention people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly.
Weinstein has had many famous accusers, including A-list actors, since he became a magnet for the #MeToo movement. in 2017. But none of the women telling their stories at the trial were anywhere near as famous as Siebel Newsom — the wife of the man who last week sailed into a second term as governor. The most populous state in the country, and he might run for the White House. The governor was not in the courtroom Monday.
During cross-examination, Weinstein’s attorney, Mark Werksman, pressed Siebel Newsom repeatedly when she told her husband about the assault, noting in a transcript of a 2020 interview with prosecutors that Newsom was “probably” the first person she told him. It was the attorney who first uttered the name “Gavin Newsom” while testifying, and repeated it over and over.
She said she “dropped hints along the way” during the years after meeting him when he was mayor of San Francisco. And he got the full reckoning when women’s stories about Weinstein broke in 2017. He was returning past political donations from Weinstein at the time.
Werksman suggested that the couple sought donations from Weinstein at a time when Newsom should have known her story.
He took money “from someone you alluded to have done something despicable to you?” Werksman asked.
“It’s complicated,” replied Sibel Newsom.
“Well, is it just policy,” Werksman asked, “to take money from someone who has done something despicable to your wife unless everybody finds out?”
Siebel Newsom denied Werksman’s suggestion that new elements of the alleged assault that she did not describe in interviews with prosecutors or grand jury testimony first appeared in her testimony Tuesday.
He said he wanted to know why her story had changed.
“We’ve all heard you’re very emotional,” he said. “You’ve had a lot of time to think about it over the past 17 years.”
Sibel Newsom said she spent most of that time trying not to think about it.
“It is very painful, sir,” she said.
Follow AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: twitter.com/andyjamesdalton
For more information on the Harvey Weinstein experience, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/harvey-weinstein
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